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MSNBC
Nov 5, 2011 5:30am EDT
american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> some would say that halloween is not a techie type holiday. however, many entrepreneurs have horror stories about losing files or an eerie feeling they are being watched. in preparation for the witching hour, our next guest has sneaky tricks to put tech scares into their final resting place. dan ackerman is an editor. all right. let's get to the issue. i am one of those people, the entrepreneurs who lost all my data. it's a nightmare. >> what did you do to prepare for that? >> nothing. now, i'm so prepared. i backed up my stuff all over the place. but i didn't. i had been running my business for years. stupid. >> we tell people to back up their stuff. they say they will. at the ent of the day, you are busy and that's fine until something happene
MSNBC
Nov 5, 2011 2:30am PDT
>>> they made artificial fog for one amusement business and found other spooky customers. how these entrepreneurs scared up new revenue. that and more coming up next on "your business." >>> hi there everyone, i'm j.j. ramberg. welcome to "your business" where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. every halloween, we scare up a good business story from haunted houses in atlanta to an entrepreneur who makes coffins out of couches. in atlanta, they were forced to innovate after getting smoke in their eyes. when the fog started to lift, they found a new customer base. ♪ >> halloween is definitely an all hands on deck, we are going full force, we have extra staff in. during this time of year, halloween is a major part of our business. >> this time of year, it's tons of calls. it's calls, calls, calls and calls. i like fog. it's fun to blow smoke for a living. >> they do blow smoke for a living. they manufacture frog gis fog used for smoke machines that fill the haunted houses that creep you out at halloween. >> when we started the business, it was more of a necessity for a family entertainment center. >> a necessity because they worked at a laser center that used fog. it triggered chris' asthma, smelled terrible and irritated kous mers eyes. >> i had respiratory issues. we set out to try to at least make a version that was, for me, breathable. >> not that we were ever going to sell the product. it was just, can we make something that is better for the kids and better for our employees and better for us? >> with nothing on the market to solve these problems, they worked with a chemist to form their own artificial fog making fluid. >> we developed a product that was really cool and, you know, for our use, it was perfect. we didn't need it for anybody else, we just needed it for us. >> they never considered marketing it until another laser person noticed. he said who does your fog? it's great. where can i get it? i said we make it. he said will you sell me ten gallons, no, mike, just take some. he went back and told everyone with a fun center and roller skating rink east of the mississippi river about us. from there, it just took off. all of a sudden, we were taking fog orders quicker than we were booking parties at the fun center. >> at first, there was limited potential for efforts. >> all of a sudden, we are getting ten times more calls in october than any other time of the year. why is that? >> that was a wake-up call, which they answered. they asked their customers one simple question. >> what do you use it for? we're a haunted house. every haunted house uses fog. wow, we didn't know that. the first guy we were on the phone with looked at us and said you have to go to this trade show. >> the more they listened to the haunted house operators the more products they found to manufacture. >> we want a ground fog that lingers longer than most ground fogs do. we are using it outside in graveyards. okay, we went and did an outdoor fog. >> that wasn't all they discovered at the trade show. >> we'll be at a trade show and haunted attraction show. my husband is a fireman they use it. note to self, firemen use this. >> all of which became markets for their fog. >> we'll be at a trade show, a bar and nightclub show and we hear yeah, my friend owns a bowling center and uses this, too. you hear from a production guy, we need them on cruise ships. cruise ships have incredible productions. one leads to another. it's done by listening to the customer. >> that's when the founders found out that rock 'n' roll performers were interested in the allergy-free formula. >> we travel with our own fog. we traveled for years trying a different variety of products. >> craig, the lead singer for hearts of saints is especially sensitive to the smells and irritants by typical fog making machines. >> they all have a stench. as a vocalist, i don't like things to stink and clog my vocal cords up. >> he's not the only one. the business has come a long way and the prospects are great. >> we grow by 100% every year or more. >> now we didn't get into this in this story, but they found other uses for the fog formula, too. you may wonder why there's so many bubbles here. it opened up more revenue strings for them. let's cut through the fog or bubbles with the board of directors. rod kurtz is the editor of a small business and jeanne marks is president of the marks group. >> never looked better. >> let's get champagne. >> or at least pop them. you know what i love this story so much. it's one of my favorites. one of the things i thought was so funny, halloween, haunted house. he never thought of it. >> i see so many business owners that stumble into their opportunities. you have to be smart to do it and they are the ones who succeed. people think and think and think. it's the guys who stumble into it and see the opportunity. what i like the most about them is they stay focused. they did not get distracted by other things to do. everything is fog based. >> they found a way to extend the product. >> they focused on the product, not on the market. >> i think these are what i call better mouse trap entrepreneurs. in a way, they stumbled into it. if you listen to the beginning of the piece, they are in the industry. they knew where the need was. if you look at most successful entrepreneurs, they cut their teeth in the industry working for someone else. they saw the cracks, swam upstream. >> i have a client, they are great guys, they are entrepreneurs and make plastics and film type products. they are buying chocolate bars at a discount bar to sell somewhere else. they got a great deal on duct tape. >> you can always use duct tape. >> they get distracted from their core business. these guys are staying focused. >> they are marketing to all these different groups, right? firemen, rock stars, haunted houses. in some ways, it's tricky. it is the same product. you have to go and figure out where do rock stars go and firemen go. it's time consuming. >> they talked to their customers. they said what do you need? what's the niche. how can we better serve you? it's easier to sell to a fire department than a rock band. you have to listen to your customers. they are never going to steer you wrong. >> he's 100% right, you learn in economics 101 it takes much more to get the new customer. they went after the existing base and they told them what products they need. >> this product sells itself, it seems like. >> everyone can use fog. >> we have. all day long, we are using it here. >>> more than 300 years ago, witch trials in se lem, massachusetts divided their citizens. today, it's boomed their tourism visits. there are some small business owners that wouldn't mind if the witchy reputation magically disappeared. ♪ >> this could be almost any charming new england sea port, but it's not. this is salem, massachusetts, home to the infamous witch trialed of 1692. fast forward and it's known as witch city where a small business community turned an ugly history into a commercial industry. >> if there's a witch on it, you can sell it. >> there's a hook to why people come here. >> look closely. you'll see witches everywhere. they haunt the streets, the police cars, the fire department, the newspaper, the high school band and just about every street corner. >> it's a great business. we turn a buck for the city every chance we get and for ourselves. this is all about being successful. >> october is the busy season and the merchants are gearing up to earn a hefty percentage of revenue. >> halloween is big business. over $5 billion is spent nationwide on halloween. a good part of that is spent here in salem. >> tourism event promotor is a modern day wiccan or witch. he, too, is part of the multimillion dollar tourism industry. >> i charge $150 a ticket for my witches ball. it's rated as one of the top halloween parties in america. i give people $150 worth of fun. >> businesses like theirs depend on the witchy reputation. lately, a new group of entrepreneurs arrived in salem. they have their own vision for the town. they came here to open a bakery catering to upscale commuters whose income is not dependent on tourism. >> we looked at it as a city trying to get a new demographic rather than witch shops. >> he considers himself part of a specialty business serving the new population. >> we have had people come up saying these are the types of businesses that are going to turn salem around. >> having visitors in town and having a thriving downtown relies on an economy driven by visitors. >> most of these condo people that moved into salem to tell us we should no longer be the witch city are relatively newcomers to salem. >> for every $1 spent by a tourist, it generates $5 to the economy whether paying for a job or benefits to the community. by having active retail stores, it's helping our tax base. >> these people came here long after it was the witch city to tell us how to change our city. i'm going to tell you something, if i didn't like the smell of chinese food, i wouldn't move to chinatown. you can't get away from it. this is the witch city. >> there's still more ahead on this halloween edition of "your business." we'll answer a question from the owner of a funeral home who wants to get customers to spend more. talk about scary? advice on how to avoid tech disasters. shazi: seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> some would say that halloween is not a techie type holiday. however, many entrepreneurs have horror stories about losing files or an eerie feeling they are being watched. in preparation for the witching hour, our next guest has sneaky tricks to put tech scares into their final resting place. dan ackerman is an editor. all right. let's get to the issue. i am one of those people, the entrepreneurs who lost all my data. it's a nightmare. >> what did you do to prepare for that? >> nothing. now, i'm so prepared. i backed up my stuff all over the place. but i didn't. i had been running my business for years. stupid. >> we tell people to back up their stuff. they say they will. at the ent of the day, you are busy and that's fine until something happened. hard drives will fail eventually. 100% of them will die. >> how do you back up? >> i say have a three-point plan. have the data on your commuter in front of you, the laptop or desktop. then a local back up. an external hard drive like this. that's easy enough. if your house floods, there's a fire, your computer is here, it's five feet away. make a third back up online somewhere, like with the cloud. use a cloud service or send yourself something by g-mail. three places. >> are there back up services that you particularly like? >> carbonite making sure it's available. >> it does it automatically. >> a lot of services do. you can right click on the file to back it up now. >> mine does every day at the end of the day so i don't have to think. use different passwords. >> that's the thing that is so hard to do but becoming increasingly important. every website says have your user name and password whether for the bank or itunes. it's hard to remember them. they want a capital letter and number, no repeating numbers. i can't give you a formula because then everyone would figure it out. come up with your own formula. replacing is with ones. everybody knows that. be aware of social engineering. we talked about this. >> we used to worry about viruses and malware. all the people out to do you no good on the internet figured out they don't need to be technological about it, they can be psychological. they get access to your accounts and passwords whether your bank or facebook through phishing or social engineering. they send an e-mail that looks like a bank or something. you use in and log in to a site that looks like your bank and somebody else has your password. >> if you get an e-mail, then -- >> it's the security environment we are living in. don't click on a link in your e-mail. type in citibank, bank of america and log in from there so you know you are going to the website. you are not going to get misdirected along the way. >> check to see who is looking at your profile. >> it's how they get a lot of people. a lot of them want permission to access facebook. you say yes. if it looks funky, that could be hiding something. >> finally, protect against internet blackouts. >> if you have to be online all the time, it's going to go out occasionally. there's a bunch of ways around that. if you have a mobile phone, a smartphone that acts as an internet hub, that's great. or a my fi box. it's a mobile hot spot. turn it on and any device within 15 or 20 feet gets on the internet with this. if your service is out but your phone works, one of these should work. be careful who you give the password to. >> yeah. all right. dan, this is great. thank you so, so much. >> thank you. >>> are you looking to use your smartphone or ipad for marketing strategy? here are the top five mobile marketing mistakes to avoid kurt see of entrepreneur.com. mismatching content. make sure every link you send out works and is suitable for mobile viewing. no promotional budget. posting an app in an app site is not enough. three, too much targeting. mobile devices are capable of tracking and collecting data that is useful for personalizing your marketing. sometimes is cost can outweigh the benefits. four, ignore the potential of voice. it's easy for them to call your business. include your number in all e-mails and all websites. number five, taking privacy concerns lightly. make sure you and your tech providers follow all industry regulations for collecting, using and securing personal information. >>> it's time to answer some of "your business" questions. rod and gene are here. the first question comes from bev. we own a full service funeral home. after much research we expected the cremation rate to be 65%. it's 98% with customers doing a straight cremation with no other services. how do we get families to honor their loved ones? >> what a cheery question. >> it's in honor of halloween. >> it's a deadly important issue. >> yeah. >> look, we can expand this out which is how do you up sell your customers? she's getting -- they are buying the cheapest thing. how does she get them to do more. >> you don't want to issue to pass away. i have been thinking about this. the funeral business is different. it's not so different than a consulting business. think about yourself. you lose a loved one. the last thing you want to hear is a marketing pitch selling more services or products. it has to be a genuine approach at the beginning of the conversation. at least letting you know what services or products or things are available. at that point, you leave it go. the hard sell in that business, i don't think it works. >> i think you are right. it's different from a lot of businesses. it's not that different. it is a service and there's a degree of hand holding. people are feeling vulnerable. they are on guard and don't want to get up sold. i say you are not going to win on price, it's going to be on service and value. you need to create the experience for them. not even make price a big part of the equation. walking through the process. this is a special time for you and your family. here is how we are going to take care of you and offer from a service level. >> so much about sales is getting somebody to like you. in this case, more than ever, they have to really like you and trust you. >> bedside manner. >> let's move on to the next one. this is a question about getting investors. >> what kind of percentage should we be looking at to give away to an investor and how do you know if it's right and what should we be looking for in terms of what to bring to the table. >> it's a great question. he covers a lot. >> it's all you have. it's all you have. our friends would tell you that. this is literally all you have. when i first heard the question, i thought about the movie "bugsby." he was left with nothing. that should be an extreme cautionary tale. you do make a deal with the devil to get it to grow. giving away a piece of the company is not an option. >> that's what i would say. >> give a solution. give away zero. >> a couple ideas. if you are looking for money, there's debt. you can have people lend you money and promise to pay them back. there are stock options you can do based on if you have certain levels of profitability. expertise, like the question he was asking, a lot of entrepreneurs build a board of advisers. they are happy to be in a start up and they can leverage. >> that's the great thing about the investors. they can joke about angel or vulture. the key question you have to look at, too, when talking raising money, a lot of them get swept up in i have to raise money. they don't stop and think how much do i need. if you are talking giving away percentages of your company, you are looking at a lot of money. >> the reason to become an entrepreneur is not to work for others. the minute you bring in outsiders you are working for others. it's no different than having a job. be careful before giving away equity. >>> this is the next question, it comes from ellen. an online retailer must coordinate information from the shopping cart, payment gaitway, fedex and quick books. what the is best way to do it? you are a good person to ask this question. >> my company sells products. we always tell the way in the world technology is, pick a vendor and go with them. if you are using a back end system from microsoft or sage, they have tons of partners, tons of third party products that integrate with each other. some you may not like but you pick a vendor and go with it. go with the partners, go with their marketplace. >> it's the halo effect. if you buy an ipod, you buy an iphone and a mac. there are a million options out there. >> are they expensive? >> i think they have gotten cheaper than ever. i think the issue for entrepreneurs, should i be bogged down with data entry, the minute you ask yourself that question, you shouldn't be because you have so much to do when you are growing your company. some of the stuff you can easily have others take care of for you, pursue that. >> quick books product is called enterprise, it's 3,000 bucks. there are smaller ones. most are a few hundred bucks a user. not that bad. >> thank you guys so much. this was all great, spooky advice today. if any of you have a question for our experts, all you have to do is go to our website. openforum.com/yourbusiness. hit the ask the show link to submit a question. again, openforum.com/yourbusiness or e-mail your questions and comments. the address is yourbusiness@msnbc.com. rod and gene had helpful advice. now, let's get great ideas from small business owners like you. >> whoever is helping you build your website, you want to make sure you are with them in every step. i'm just learning all this about links and niche and names and all these technical things. i'm the owner of the business. i want to get paid. i want to bring the clients to me so i should be involved in every step of my web page. >> try to do as much as you can yourself in the areas of marketing, legal, accounting, or many of your dollar that is you or your profit margin will get from outside vendors. try to do as much in-house as you can. >> if you are a business owner, resilience is key. keep on moving and continue trying to grow and do the best you can. it's all we can hope for. we can continue trying. >> do you want to test out what works and what doesn't work on your small business website? check out our website of the week. they see what visitors respond to and what they don't. it's known as ab testing. when users log on, they send out different versions of it. you can try out the service free for 30 days before choosing a service plan. to learn more about today's show, click on our website. it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments with more information to help your business grow. don't forget to become a fan of the show on facebook. love getting your feedback. next week, we take a closer look at a phenomenon popping up all over the place. >> our codes represent the shortest distance between curiosity and content. it simply is easier to hover a code than type in your url. >> we'll have a beginners guide to codes and whether or not they make sense for your business. until then, i'm j.j. ramberg and remember, we make "your business" our business. sam: i'm sam chernin. owner of sammy's fish box. i opened the first sammy's back in 1966. my employees are like family. and, i want people that work for me to feel that they're sharing in my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families.
MSNBC
Nov 6, 2011 7:30am EST
. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> who you ever tried to read a restaurant menu by the light of that small candle on your table? it can be tough. but today's elevator pitcher came up with a solution to save your eyesight and your appetite. hi, good morning. >> good morning. gillian dinnerstein. >> good morning. barry moltz, nice to meet you. >> gillian dinnerstein. as j.j. said, most of us have experienced in low-lit venues difficulty reading a menu or the check. dine alight is a simple, rechargeable l.e.d. product which is the only application able to illuminate multiple pages. it's the universal module which is secure, and actually unlocks with our little key. and fits into our charger. and charges about every two to four months. the market with over 1 million u.s. full-s
MSNBC
Nov 27, 2011 7:30am EST
>>> i'm jerry. >> and i'm evelyn. see how msnbc got our playground business back in swing with a small business makeover. >> that's coming up next on "your business." >>> small businesses are revitalizing the economy, and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc. >>> hi there, everyone, i'm j.j. ramberg. and welcome to "your business," where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. when evelyn anderson of a just for fun play grounds wrote to us a few months back she had no idea her e-mail would spark our next business makeover. her question to us was simple, what do you do when you sell a once in a lifetime product that doesn't generate repeat customers? when we dug a little deeper we found a really interesting business in need of some serious help. we decided to assemble a rescue team to give them a much-needed push in the right direction. ♪ when evelyn anderson and her husband gary hyatt bought just for fun play grounds in asheville, north carolina, five years ago, business was booming. >> the first three years that we were in business, we worked summer and winter. just straight through the year. we had four guys in the shop. we had two sales people, and then we had a winter where we went four months without a phone call. >> the company was known for their high-end custom designed play grounds. but by 2009, the recession had eroded two-thirds of their business. forcing them to let all of their employees go. after two difficult years of scraping by, evelyn wrote to us, here at "your business," asking for help. >> i wondered how you get business when you don't have repeat customers. when you're selling something that is a once in a lifetime purchase. how do you continue to find new customers? >> to answer those questions, and help get their business back in full swing -- >> we assembled a rescue team, led by mike mccalvin to surprise the owners with a small business makeover. >> i am the author of "the toiler paper entrepreneur" and i'm here to get your business back on track. while we wrap up here i'll help you carry that roof in, we'll finish up. and let's stop working on play sets today and let's start working on your business today. ♪ >> here's our wonderful show room. >> first thing's first we've got to change that to open, right? >> sure. >> so why don't you take me for a quick tour so i can get a sense of what's going on and we'll get to work. >> sure. this is the show room. >> okay. >> and the train is here for parents to let their kids play on it while we talk to them about their play ground. >> mike's tour got stopped in its tracks when he realized that jerry and evelyn were living behind the show room in a motor home. >> so we're just really happy we have a roof over our heads. we're lucky. >> and it's paid for. >> so what could be done to resuscitate their once healthy business and get them back on track? mike and his team quickly homed in on a few things jerry and evelyn could fix, including improving first impressions, online and off, with a name and branding change. finding a industry insider to serve as a sounding board and mentor. and getting more exposure with customer reviews and local media. first up is denise, who was given the task of clearly designing jerry and evelyn's business. her first suggestion, to eliminate confusion with another local play ground company was to rebrand their business with a name change. >> we've been through a lot of things and came up with two names we want to present to you and see how you felt about them. >> okay. >> first one we came up with is asheville play grounds. what we like about this is asheville is really well-known for their quality, craftsmanship, where with this logo, almost a little bit churchy looking, too, like a steeple. we know that's a growing portion of your business so we thought that was fun. and there's a lot we can do with that logo. you can have kids climbing all over it. >> so i think i feel reserved because it seems a little too sophisticated from the, a little bit perhaps goofy, just for fun play grounds, and the goofy train, and the smoke and all that stuff. >> that is a good point that you're bringing upg. that was something we kept in mind because we saw what you had going on. but we also know these are not low end and they're not really low priced what you're doing. >> that's true. >> and it's not kids that are looking on the website. it's adults making decisions. so we wanted to make sure we're reaching out to the right audience. so this one, i don't know if you're aware, but the state mammal of north carolina is a gray squirrel. and we thought, calling it gray squirrel and having a tagline from play grounds to park grounds would really allow you to say what you do. and see everyone smiles when they see gray squirrels. and you think outdoors. we thought having acolor that looks like wood and having a little fun right there. >> the gray squirrel makes me chuckle. i like that it doesn't have play grounds in it. and i don't like that it doesn't have playgrounds in it, you know. >> with a vast knowledge of the business, matt miller, third generation owner and ceo of play world systems, offered to mentor jerry and evelyn who are still relative newcomers to this complicated business. >> matt, have you had a chance to check out their website and see what evelyn and jerry are doing? >> i did. i looked through it. they're making some really interesting pieces of equipment. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> yeah. that's completely your strength. but when i pulled up your website i wouldn't have known that right away. >> oh, interesting. >> yeah, you've got to lead with that. that's something that somebody can really latch onto and say, you know what? i can make this look like my church. >> mm-hmm. >> or i can make it look like the play ground that i had when i was a child. >> matt also emphasized the importance of selling fun, and not just the equipment, when it comes to marketing their play grounds. >> when you're selling a play ground, you're selling an experience. you're not just selling a piece of equipment. so try to capture the imagination, and the image, and the excitement of what it was like when you were a child, when you first got to go to that play ground. >> our next rescue team member, dana hewins, is a marketing and p.r. expert who was tasked with getting jerry and evelyn some exposure. >> so i have another surprise for you tomorrow. a reporter from the asheville times will be here to interview you. >> oh, that's awesome. that's fabulous. >> and then i'm going to sit down with you and spend some time refining your messages and looking at your traditional media, your social media, and looking at how we can blend in your customer reviews of that to get you some additional exposure. >> after a very long day, mike gave jerry and evelyn a homework assignment for the next day. >> first of all, you have to identify your top ten clients. second thing is the mentor schedule. we have to work with this mentor and it's our responsibilities the mentees to manage the schedule. they give us knowledge, we give him commitment. the third thing is clearly, the logo we love may need to change a little bit. i think it's changing, pushing the limit of what we normally are that's going to evolve the business. all right? >> okay. >> okay. >> good. >> we'll give it our best shot. >> okay. >> team break. >> we'll find out whether the asheville couple can overcome their business problems later in the show. if anyone knows about persevering in the face of hardship, it's the people of new orleans. being in the middle of hurricane season reminds us of the challenges that community faced after katrina's devastation six years ago. but that city's small business community has rebounded, and is booming. ♪ >> six years after the devastation from hurricane katrina, new orleans is experiencing a renaissance, and small business owners are leading the way. >> new orleans is becoming this national laboratory of the next generation of entrepreneur leaders. >> it's created sort of an, you know, interesting synergy, if not an alchemy of committed natives, as well as these very enterprising, idealistic newcomers. >> those who stayed in new orleans like matt wisdom and ken were considered pioneers. >> we felt like the wild west and it made us feel like we were pioneers rebuilding something from the ground up. >> when everyone else was fleeing the city and businesses were closing left and right, and the news was piling on about who's leaving town next, i said you know, i'm going to do something right. >> and today, while other cities are struggling to stay afloat during this tough economy, new orleans has been growing, thanks to a low cost of living, generous tax credits, and a riff culture. >> you could start a business here for 30%, 40% less than new york or san francisco. so why offshore bangalore when you could offshore to new orleans. you could come here and do it better and do it cheaper, and do it with more people than almost anywhere else in the country. >> louisiana is now number three in the united states in terms of film production behind only california and new york. >> at the epicenter of all of this entrepreneurial activity is the i.p. building. entrepreneurs, and the ice house. inspired by silicone alley in new york the three hubs house some of the most innovative companies in new orleans. >> we're in the i.p. building in new orleans. and what you have here is a community of entrepreneurs that had moved into this building in the last year, from the fastest growing companies in the country, iseatz to feel goods. what this board represents is the entrepreneurial community within new orleans, and it's just one of the few innovative hubs that's sprouting all around the community. >> kyle burner of feel goods and craig met at the i.p. building and found that they could collaborate on the packing of kyle's flip-flops in cordina's large warehouse space. >> we're shipping out margaritas. why not add flip-flops to the mix? a venture was formed and we're now shipping out feel goods flip-flops. >> the desire to help rebuild new orleans was so strong, she left her job in new york as a sweater designer to follow her dream of starting her own clothing company. >> the enthusiasm for any business here is just incredible. i mean, they rolled out the red carpet for us, you know, and was like, whatever we can do to have you succeed, you know, we want you to succeed. >> new orleans is on the rise. a recession-proof haven, eager to support new businesses, with entrepreneurs working together to succeed. >> new orleans is my huge business partner. it's on the label. and it will stay on the label. business partners invest in your business and new orleans invests in my business. both, people on the street, in the community, my friends, the businesses here. i mean, they want me to succeed. and, you know, and in ways that are beyond just capital investment. >> stick around. when we come back, we tell you what you need to know to export your products overseas. and what name did they choose for the playground business? we go back to asheville, north carolina, as we complete our small business makeover. shazi: seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> earlier we introduced you to evelyn anderson and jerry hyatt, the owners of a custom playground company who needed our help. when we visited their show room and workshop we saw firsthand some easy fixes to spruce up their business. in mart two of our small business makeover, you'll see the outpouring of support from the entrepreneurial community to give this business a boost. >> so yesterday was sorting out what's going on here. there's a lot going on. but today, where the rubber hits the road, we're going to do heavy lifting and get things cleaned up. >> first up, checking to see if jerry and evelyn did their homework. >> good to see you. what about the top ten clients. we figure them out? >> oh, yeah, we got a list of 15, actually. >> 15. any common trend that you identified? >> yes. i think that they're all really creative, interesting projects that we've done. >> that commonality is a seed for finding other clients just like that. so it's perfect. tell me about the mentor. how did that go? >> i'm inclined in the beginning to like to meet every two weeks. >> now, the big reveal. what is the name of the new business? or the new name of the current business. >> asheville play grounds. >> asheville play grounds? >> yes, we decided to go with that because it's a little less playful and a little more to the point of what we do. but, we're going to play with the graphics in that we like what gray squirrel looks like, and if we take the backgrounds from gray squirrel and put it with the asheville playgrounds logo, i think it will be a nice blend. >> it's not what i expected, but i love the decision speaking to your customers. well done. >> with their homework done and a new company name chosen, they got to share the news about the changes taking place at the business with the local paper. the "asheville citizen times." >> this overwhelming for you? >> oh, of course. >> the resulting story was front-page news in asheville. which was exactly the kind of local exposure dana was looking for. building on that momentum, dana also approached the customers on jerry and evelyn's top ten client list and asked them to do an online review. mike took the business owners aside to talk a little more about their original question. how to boost sales when they sell a product that doesn't have a repeat customer. >> you've got to increase sales. here's how you do it. tip number one is i want you to start asking for what's called vendor referrals. stop going to referrals and asking them for other customers. instead ask them for other vendors they trust and like. if they refer you to them and you can build relationships you're going into common customers as a team. two is trade shows. stock a boost, it costs a lot of money and it doesn't yield many results. guess who is at the trade shows? other vendors. start walking the trade shows. it costs nothing. gives you an opportunity to meet all these other vendors and start building relationships. third tip is growing by saying no. you grow by saying no. what you have to do is start saying no to the projects that are not within your wheelhouse. not your specialty. we have to stay in our sweet spot. okay. and if we stay within our sweet spot, we can start hitting what's called a concentric circle. people in the same type of community, stay in the same circles. and it's usually two or three spots. and if you have a presence in those three or four spots, they will perceive you as being everywhere. and the fifth and final tip i wanted to share with you, i think there's a huge opportunity for what's called additive sales. when you do a project, install a setup, a whole new play set, i think there's an opportunity to offer maintenance. right there in that moment, when they buy it, $10,000 or $20,000 play set you could say for $100 a month we'll come out and do a check, make sure the safety standards are met, that it's clean, and give you a report on it. if anything needs to be fixed or adjusted, we'll do that, too. with your quality of work, that's rarely going to happen. >> the next order of business was improving first impressions at the show room and workshop. perched at the intersection of two busy streets it was time to spruce up the newly renamed business with a little help from some friends. >> everyone has volunteered to help clean the place up, clean up the signage outside. thank you, everyone. you guys ready? come on in. come on! ♪ in the playground in my mind ♪ ♪ in a world that used to be ♪ ♪ close your eyes and follow me ♪ >> with the entrepreneurial community taking an interest in helping boost asheville play grounds, several local businesses contributed not only their time, but also some much-needed items. like new signage. >> that is so cool. >> they also planted flowers, and provided a new phone system to finish the transformation. >> we wanted to give you a lifetime virtual phone system. make sure that when people call you, your first image is professional. >> cool. >> when they try and reach you and call you the calls are going to forward to wherever you are. >> i really didn't even know this kind of thing existed. so this is really cool. >> after some tweaks to the asheville playgrounds logo and branding, karen of studio 88 built jerry and evelyn an entirely new website. >> i want to show you your website. >> oh, wow. all right. >> packed with lots of pictures and information, the old site was busy and sprawling. the new site is organized, and easy to navigate with the custom designed play ground images taking center stage in galleries separated by categories. residential, commercial, and churches. >> it's online now. it's interactive. you can click on some of the pages if you'd like. ♪ >> in just a few short weeks, the extraordinary transformation of just for fun play grounds was almost complete. >> i'm special delivery for you. we've prepared your business cards for your new business. >> oh, wow. great. >> beautiful. look at these. >> we found our two business owners more confident and ready to turn the page in a new chapter of their playground business. >> i have absolute confidence. i see it in you. maybe you don't hear it. maybe you don't hear it in your own mind but it's in your heart. you got it. it's going to work. you're going to do it. all right? >> no, no, no. >> yes. >> take care, all right? we appreciate all that you all have done for us. >> take care. >> thankfully we were able to get mike to come in from the playground to talk to us today. as we mentioned he's the author of the best-selling book "the toilet paper entrepreneur" and he is the founder of obsidian launch, a company that provides online behavioral marketing services. and jason goldberg is the founder and ceo of fab.com, a website that offers sales on items from leading designers and manufacturers, but that doesn't even begin to describe you, because you are a serial entrepreneur. you've already sold two companies. this is your third and fourth, i guess, kind of blended into one. >> number four. >> great to see both of you. mike, amazing ease. you did a great job with them. >> it was wonderful to be out there. they are really, true, american entrepreneurs. their heart is they are true entrepreneurs, their heart is into this. >> they had so much given to them with your guidance and they were so open to you. do you think it's going to work? srk i do. the amazing moment was when the mentor came on. he went in there and i saw on their faces, they changed their thinking in that moment. they decided to break the pattern that's getting them in trouble and take a new path. i think it's going to take a year or two to play out. i'm confident they are on the right pattern now. >> jason, you have been extraordinarily successful. how do you get out of tough spots when something happens? >> focus on one thing. draw a circle around your one thing. i think you talked about the things they shouldn't be doing like taking on business that's not profitable. honing in on things to emphasize. it's key at this stage. >> taking on business. you said this, saying no. especially now in this economy, to say no to a customer. >> you do grow by saying no. a struggling business starts grasping at straws. they try to take on any business. they are a playground manufacturer but they are making bridges, gazebos and signs. it's grasping at straws. they were making no revenue and in a lot of cases, losing money. >> a lot of what you did was fixed up the look of things. they have an amazing new website. you started a lot of websites. for a company like theirs where it makes sense to check them out, how important is the website? >> a couple things really struck me. one was the imagery of how beautiful their playgrounds are. that is their centerpiece. all the words on the page. the story is the objects they are building. focus on the objects. another thing that really struck me was i think it's great they got a new website. one thing that maybe the next step with them, in a bad economy, there's not many people doing web searches for building a new playground. the traffic may not be coming naturally to their website. look for ways to take the imagery and put it where people are going to see. >> find other venders to partner with. >> take pictures of playgrounds and put them on facebook. get the people who are actually taking advantage of and using these playgrounds to share with friends. >> great idea. i am excited. mike, we are going to have you back in a year from now to go bok and see how they are going. i have faith in them from watching this. thanks for all the great work. >> thank you. >>> making mistakes while running a small business is inevitable. some of the errors are unavoidable. here are five mistakes businesses make. hiring in advance of revenue. decide how many people to hire based on what money you actually have in the bank. >>> borrowing money when it's not needed. just because a bank is willing to lend you money doesn't mean you should accept it. borrowed money adds a huge burden to your business. pricing too low. it's better to sell fewer units at higher prices than more units at a lower price. offering credit terms. unless there's good reason, do not offer credit to customers. businesses fail because they can't collect receivables. count on one source of revenue. depending on one source is dangerous. build multiple sources of revenue so when one dies off, you are still building your overall business. >>> doing business abroad is helping a lot of entrepreneurs get through tough times here at home. this year, the obama administration launched an effort to get small businesses to export their goods. getting small business export financing is on the rise and is going to share tips for expanding. fred is the chairman of the export/import bank. >> thanks for having me on the show. >> we get a lot of questions about this of people making something and want to sell it overseas. one of the things you say i have to pay attention to is reduce your risk of not being paid. that makes sense but how do you do that? >> well, you know, when you are a company and located in chicago and selling products to new york or arizona, if there's a reason you don't get paid, you know what to do, how to collect, you know what the laws are. it's not difficult to collect. itis not a risk to the business. when you have a company and selling to india, saudi arabia, brazil or columbia, they don't pay, what do you do? >> what do you do from the start, fred, so you make sure it doesn't happen? >> one, most importantly, know your customer. you should know your customer and a knowledge of what their business is and their reliability. two, we can help you step in by providing insurance. we insure the receivable. if there's a company we work with in miami. they sell surgical supplies. where do they sell them to? egypt, libya, iraq -- what we do is ensure that receivable. >> got it. you offer foreign buyers financing. a lot of people done have the cash to pay up front so this is incentive for them? >> right. in a case like that, usually, it's for capital goods. we just sold solar technology to india. in that case, we provide the buyer with financing. they can pay for that over 18 years so they can am torize the cost. >> when you say we, you mean your import/export -- >> thank you. the export/import bank for an independent agency. we do this at no cost to the taxpayer. we collect a fee for our work, the customers, the foreign buyer or u.s. exporter. that pays all our costs. we guarantee the receivable or the loan. >> you see cure capital loan from your bank. some people are going to listen to that and laugh. everyone is having trouble getting loans. >> what we provide, we will look at your receivables, look at your inventory and work with your local bank and provide them with a 90% guarantee so they make the working capital loan. the bank has little risk. >> competing against foreign companies. you might not be cheaper, but better quality than they will find in their country. >> we make some of the most innovative products. lower lifetime costs. maybe the actual cost of buying it initially might be more expensive, but if you look at the total lifetime cost, locomotives, airplanes, solar technology, lifetime costs are far less. we are selling high quality products. >> one last question. if somebody is interested in this, where do they go? you make it sound easy. we guarantee financing, we find people for you. it can't be that easy. where do you go to take the first step. >> it's not that easy, but not nearly as hard as people make it out to be. if you want to figure out where the buyers are, the department of commerce is the first place to go. they help you identify buyers. if you have a customer and need financing, working capital or insurance, go to the export/import bank. exim.gov. >> thank you, we have been getting so many questions about this. it's very helpful. >> happy to be here, j.j. >>> a strong business plan is very helpful to launching any successful small business. want help writing yours? check out our website of the week. enloop.com writes a business plan for you. they rate the strength of your business plan and generate financial forecast. limited services for free. to learn more about today's show, click on our website, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's information with information to help your business grow. become a fan of the show on facebook. we love getting your feedback. follow us on twitter@msnbc your biz. i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make "your business" our business. sam: i'm sam chernin. owner of sammy's fish box. i opened the first sammy's back in 1966. my employees are like family. and, i want people that work for me to feel that they're sharing in my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my empls to go on trips with their families.
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right, totally. that's what i was thinking. all kinds of vehicles, all kinds of savings. multi-policy discounts from progressive. call or click today. >>> starbucks ceo howard schultz tells us how this bracelet is going to help fund small businesses. and why you need to start using qr codes like this one to get and retain customers. a little inspiration and innovation coming up next on "your business." >>> small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc. >>> hi there, everyone. i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business." where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. starbucks has launched a new initiative called create jobs for usa. the program is focused specifically on small business the company's donated $5 million in seed money and it's soliciting donations from customers and employees. this will help fund small companies through a partnership with the opportunity finance network, a group of community development financial institutions that focus on underserved markets. i sat down with starbucks' ceo howard schultz to learn more about the campaign. thank you so much for joining us today. i'm so excited about this opportunity, and i can't wait for you to tell us a little bit more about this. you can see, i got my bracelet. >> love it. >> so tell me how you're going to be helping small businesses. and as a result, create jobs. >> well, i think before i answer that specifically, can i frame the problem for you? >> absolutely. >> it's been reported that we have 9.1% unemployment in america. that's bad enough. but the fact is, it's almost double that in the hispanic and the african-american community. in addition to that, what we've learned is that the engine for job creation in america has always been and continues to be small businesses. the problem that we have right now is that small businesses are having a very difficult time getting access to credit, because the banks are just not lending as much as they did in the past. >> that's an issue we talk about all of the time on this show. people saying, i want to grow, but i can't get the money that i need to grow. >> so the question is, how can businesses and business leaders step up, not wait for washington, and in our case, how can starbucks use its scale for good? so we came up with an idea, a simple idea. and that is to create a bracelet. let's call it indivisible from the pledge of allegiance, which is nonpartisan, respectful, and do something in which we put this in our stores, ask for a donation of $5 or more. we will raise millions of dollars, and immediately, after the money is raised, we will get it in the hands of the opportunity finance network, which is an organization that has microfinance loan organization and community-based organizations across the country, that will automatically provide access to credit that the banks are not doing. and in doing so, we will have a significant catalytic effect on job creation in america. >> so if i'm a small business, and i have been to a bank and i can't get money and i have no friends and family, and i'm watching this interview right now, and i say, okay, there's my money, what do i do? >> go to the community finance network. go to create jobs.org and you will see immediately an opportunity that doesn't exist. go into a starbucks store and you will get a sheet that explains everything, as well as the opportunity to put this bracelet on with pride and show that americans can help americans. >> what i think is interesting about this campaign is that you are, in essence, doing what, or trying to do and hopefully it works well, what bono did for the problem of hiv in africa. is make the idea of helping small businesses cool. >> sure. >> so do you think, and what are you going to do, to make sure that this becomes cool, that every person in america wants to wear one of these things as a badge of, i'm helping small business? >> well, there's millions of people every day going to a starbucks store. we will do as much as possible to create awareness, relevancy, and i think in the coming weeks you're going to see americans with this bracelet on all over the country, and i think what we want to try and do, in addition to raising money to create jobs, is we want to celebrate america. right now we have a crisis of confidence and a crisis of leadership in america. there's a hopelessness in which the american dream somehow doesn't seem as accessible as it once did to the people being left behind. we want to try and make a difference. the bracelet, in a way, is emblematic of that. >> and will i be able to see the small businesses that i'm helping? >> yes. there will be complete transparency on the website where the money is going. how many jobs we're creating. believe me when i tell you, this is nothing about starbucks, this is what we and other businesses can do to use our scale for good. >> just to go on the other side for a minute. a lot of bankers that i speak to on this show say, we have money that we would love to lend, but the people who are coming and asking for loans aren't fundable right now. we can't give them money, we're afraid they're not going to pay us back. >> you know, i certainly can't speak for the decisionmaking of the banks. but i can tell you that there are thousands of small businesses across america who have great entrepreneurial ideas, small and large, and for whatever reason, are not getting access to credit because of regulation, and new restrictions on how banks are making lending decisions. we're going to eradicate that. >> can you give me an example of some small businesses or types of businesses that are going to benefit from this? >> just in the last two days we already found out that we funded a nursing home that already did not have any access to credit, that got a loan, has hired people already. but you'll be able to see all of this with great transparency on the website. and you can learn more, because we will be handing this sheet out at starbucks that will explain the entire mechanism of where the money's going, how it's getting in the hands, and how we're making a difference. >> money is one issue. getting customers, knowing how to run your business and grow your business, is another big issue for small businesses. you have obviously been very successful. started something tiny and has grown it enormously. what advice, if all of these people that you're funding were able to sit in an audience with you, what advice would you give them? >> well, you know, i think we've been very blessed at starbucks. but there was a point in time when we were a small business. we had 11 stores and 100 employees in 1987 and a dream. when i speak to young people, i try and give them just a few tidbits of the things that work for us. surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and have more experience than you do. but most importantly, have like-minded values. dream big, and then dream bigger. and don't let anyone tell you that your idea, your thoughts, or your dreams cannot come true. >> well, i look forward to seeing hopefully a lot of small businesses grow, because of this effort. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> and for what you're doing. >> thank you. >> you may not know what they're called, but no doubt you've noticed the unusual square shaped bar codes popping up all over the place. consider this segment a beginner's guide to qr codes where we take a closer look at what they are and how they might be useful to your business. ♪ they are everywhere. store fronts. magazines. business cards. billboards, and this guy even has a tattoo with the funny shaped square bar code. >> scan like this. >> they're called qr codes, short for quick response, and they are revolutionizing the way we get information on just about anything. here's how they work. all you do is create the code, more on that later, and put it some place where your customers will see it. they, then put their smartphone over the code and scan it. a special web page featuring your unique content instantly comes up. >> the most important step for a small business is to provide a great payoff to the consumer for interacting with a qr code. so make sure you provide special content that is not accessible otherwise. whether that's a special offer. or a special video that you can't access. that really rewards the consumer for going through the exercise of actually scanning the code. >> for the small business owner, the opportunity to crack the code, and tap this new market is relatively easy. >> they're very inexpensive to deploy. with a number of tools available today, you can create your own qr code campaign in just a matter of minutes. >> nina recently started a campaign at garnet wines and liquors. the scores qr code offers discounts linked to their facebook and twitter pages, information about special events and sales. >> it isn't the whole website, it's just pieces of information that you can take or not. and you click on. and then you can click on there, check in, and get a discount. >> but it's not just about disseminating information. nina is gathering valuable information, too. >> what's great about qr codes is they allow you to track the effectiveness of your marketing. because it's tied to the internet, you suddenly have metrics on things that you didn't have before. if people were looking at your business card, or your bus poster, or your packaging, you would kn wouldn't know that that was actually occurring. with people scanning your codes you're able to measure which ones were the most effective for you. >> delving into the analytic has given nina insight far beyond any marketing at the store. >> 180 seconds. most of our visits are by iphone. >> reporter: small businesses looking to get started with qr code campaigns should remember a few key things. first, there are plenty of qr code generators available online for free. but most of the free services don't offer analytics. for a small fee, it may be worth upgrading your account to track your scans. >> qr code solutions come in many different shapes and sizes. there are the really large, expensive agencies that will deploy beautiful campaigns for you, and do them as one-off custom build deployments. and that can cost in the thousands of dollars. there are also other solutions, which charge a small monthly fee and allow you to create your own campaign, get all of the analytics, use a content management system to manage what you want the codes to point to. >> second, your customers will need a qr reader on their phone. be ready to help them with it. especially if they've never scanned a code before. there are plenty of free apps available out there for iphones, androids and blackberries. once they have the reader installed, they're ready to start scanning. >> and put your smartphone over it and you hear that little beep, so then it comes up with our menu. >> the next step is to create a call to action. tell people why they should scan your code. >> and she's going to give you a 10% discount. >> you don't want to make a rookie mistake of just sending a customer to your website. >> if you're passing by a neighborhood store, you may see a code on the front window that will give reviews, maybe offer coupons. it's a way of connecting instantly between print and the internet but more importantly, between the retailer to its consumer. >> the last step for creating a successful qr campaign is putting the codes in interesting places. nick goldfarb is a filmmaker who uses the qr codes on his business cards. >> i get a lot of wows, and that's cool, and how does it work. that's sort of exactly the reason why we went this way, was you always want to have people remember you. >> melissa brown is a real estate agent who uses them on her flyers and signs to give potential customers information on the spot. >> a little code goes directly to my website. and i have it programmed so that photos of the house, and information of the house is readily available. instantaneous. >> david, who's in a band, wanted a faster way to market his music. >> wlefr we go to shows i'm always getting asked, have you got this, have you got that? take out your phone, scan it. it's the app for it. it takes two seconds. >> qr codes really represent the shortest distance between curiosity and content. it's simply easier to whoever your phone over a code than it is to thumb-type in a url. >> want more information about qr codes? scan our special "your business" code to learn more. >>> so, how important is it for your business to jump on that qr code bandwagon? well, we want to show you our qr code once again. just go ahead, scan that code on the screen, and you'll find a special video with more details about qr codes, and you'll also be taken to the "your business" facebook and twitter pages. go ahead, scan it right now. now let's turn to this week's board of directors to talk to them a little bit more about these qr codes, angela jia kim is the founder of savorthesuccess.com, a business network for free mail entrepreneurs and barry moltz is a small business consultant. you can't find them at barrymoltz.com. we took our own advice which is we didn't just sent people to our website, i think that's what you take away from this piece is if you're going to do it, don't be lazy about it. >> right. go all the way. my issue only, and it's so cool, and it's another layer of almost exclusivity that clients and customers like, but i'm all for streamlining. so, this only works on a smartphone, correct? so then you're kind of cutting off a certain segment who doesn't have a smartphone. >> you know what, that is true. because i did not have fun. i'm kind of old school. >> over 50% of people in the united states have smartphones and that's it. so if they don't have a smartphone, if they don't know how to download the qr reader and don't have internet access. >> i was stwr. can you put the url underneath for those who don't have smart phones. but for those people who do have smartphones who can use this, it is, it's a really cool thing to do. and relatively easy. >> yeah, i think that what's most important in marketing these days is you've got to be shareable. the qr code allow you to be shareable, but as they said in the outlook, the important thing is not to just send them to your website. there's got to be some kind of special offer. if you don't give them some kind of special offer you're really missing an opportunity. >> right. and then especially if you're going to ruse it to replace any sort of announcement of where your website is. like you showed that qr code at the very beginning there. i mean, what if you don't have it? you don't know what your website is. and so it's important, i think, to make sure that it's accessible to all of your customers. >> i didn't know what a qr code was, and now suddenly i see them everywhere. i have gotten so many business cards with qr codes on them. >> really? >> yeah, but again i don't have a phone that can look at it. not that useful for me. >> you're in the 50%. >> thanks so much, you guys. >> are you looking to tap into the potential power of facebook to promote your company? if so, here are five facebook apps that you can use to market your business, courtesy of small business computing dotcom. poll lets you create questions and then post them on your wall. the app will track results for you, which include each voter's user i.d., name, and gender. if you already have a company website, i-frame apps will embed your site directly onto your facebook fan page. extended info creates an additional info tab with more details, customizable information about your business. you can also add videos, images, and music to the page. the work for us app lets you post job openings and receive applications through your facebook page. and finally, you can sell products directly on your facebook page using social ecart. you can create a new online store, or if you already have one, link to your online shop directly. when we come back, we'll answer your business questions about key words for search engine optimization and finding developers for a start-up. and today's elevator pitcher saw the light for those of us who have trouble reading menus in those romantic but dimly lit bistros. shazi: seven years ago, i had this idea. to make baby food the way moms would. happybaby strives to make the best organic baby food. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> who you ever tried to read a restaurant menu by the light of that small candle on your table? it can be tough. but today's elevator pitcher came up with a solution to save your eyesight and your appetite. hi, good morning. >> good morning. gillian dinnerstein. >> good morning. barry moltz, nice to meet you. >> gillian dinnerstein. as j.j. said, most of us have experienced in low-lit venues difficulty reading a menu or the check. dine alight is a simple, rechargeable l.e.d. product which is the only application able to illuminate multiple pages. it's the universal module which is secure, and actually unlocks with our little key. and fits into our charger. and charges about every two to four months. the market with over 1 million u.s. full-service restaurants and bars alone is obviously wide open and then we are endorsed by the largest wine and spirits distributor in the united states. >> gillian, how much money are you looking for? >> i'm looking more for an experience to take our patented, international patents globally and help with licensing and distribution. >> so you're looking for a partner? >> i'm looking for a partner to share in the very endless potential of this product. >> okay. >> it has no language, and -- >> well, let's see what these guys think. you got to hear angela. you've been sitting in that space a lot of times. how did you think she did in the pitch. >> i thought it was great. you're very elegant. i want you to get more grounded and really speak from your passion point of why this is such an amazing, you know, product. rather than trying to get the words right. it's more like a conversation. you know, more casual conversation. and the other thing i would love to know, and i feel like a broken record because i feel like i say this all the time is i'm really interested in knowing what your sales are going to look like. what the interest is. and, so, that's my piece of advice. >> barry, what do you think she needs to include in the pitch? >> gillian, i think you need to understand people, what they really do is they buy when they're in pain and they have money to solve the pain. you have to decide who has the pain here. certainly the diner has the pain or they can't see the menu or the see who has the pain, and certainly does the restaurant owner really have the pain, and are they uncomfortable with the server having a conversation, or it's an elegant solution but you have to make sure that that you are selling to the person with the pain. >> yes, this is solving the problem, so solve it for the person you are selling it to. >> would you take another meeting? >> not at this point. i think the menu is interesting. you were saying that you actually designed the menus in with the light in it. i would like to see more direction. >> barry? >> no, not at this point. most small businesses is all about distribution. the restaurant industry is fragmented. can you get on with a food supply company. >> i think -- sorry to cut you off again because we're limited. but you have a great thing to put in the beginning to show we're successful, and we're going to get a partner and make it more successful. thank you so much. i know you have so much more to say. >> it's a cool product. thank you guys so much for everything today. appreciate it. >>> if any of you have a product or service and you want feedback from our elevator pitch panel on your chances of getting interested investors, all you have to do is send us an e-mail. yourbusiness@msnbc.com. tell us how much money you want to raise and what you intent to do with the money, and you never know, somebody out there may be interested in helping you. now, the first question is about search engine optimaization? >> how do i find the key words to search for on google to put on my website? >> this is a million dollar question. >> do you hire somebody? >> i did. there are a few things you can do right away. we always talk about a blog, but pepper your blog with good content, and making sure you use the friendly words, and making sure that your erl has those words in there. >> this gentleman is part of miami executive coach and he will never own the word coach, and he will not be able to compete, and you put quote coac he will gets millions and millions of people. it's proven that there's much closer to a buying he decision than just putting coach in. >> how would you go about finding developers to bring on to a text start up? where would you look to find the people that would be a good fit to bring on to your team? >> i have gotten this question from a lot of friends recently. where do you go? >> well, i think that we have to understand for a small business owner, we have to keep their resources in a variable, right. and we moved towards the thing called an online contingency workforce, where people are going online to find a specific person with the specific skill for a certain period of time, and then they use that person. that's how people are building teams remotely, and not a full time employee all in one place. >> my husband is a web developer and i asked him this question, and how would somebody find somebody good, and he said it's all word of mouth. you have to get in there and use your connections. he said go geek conferences, he said. if it's social media, go to facebook or twitter conference, and then be prepared to pay well, because they are few and far between, and good ones ared. treat them like investors, because they want to be excited about your project. >> if you don't have a ton of money, and there are a loft people out there that are developers, and that's when you go to e-lance or something like that. >> you can try and get college, and it can pay off in the long run. >> maybe that's a way to get started if you don't have a lot of money. >>> and this is from juan. i hear a lot about the cloud. should i be doing all of my computing in the cloud? >> this takes me back to 30 years ago with time-sharing days. now, you don't have to make big investments, and you don't have to pay a lot of money up front for software, and can you play for the applications you want. and we are a mobile society, so you can get to the applications anywhere you are on the road. >> as a small business owner, i love things like g mail, something so simple and free. you have no idea what we are able to accomplish with just the calendar alone. it's amazing what you can do now and be mobile. >> so you guys are big fans of putting everything in the cloud? >> yes. >> and for people who are scared that something might happen, it could happen to your hard drive? >> yeah, and my hard drive, the cloud is -- >> when you put everything up there, or everything is in the cloud? >> well, i use a service called carbonite, and they back it up in the cloud every single day. >> so you are not working in the cloud. you have it on your hard drive, and it backed it up. >> well, i am using various google docks, and drop box is huge because you can really share documents. it's perfect for collaboration. >> yeah, i love that. i use the cloud all the time. >> that was all very good advice. >> we appreciate it. >> and if any of you have a question for our experts, go to the website, the address is open forum.com/yourbusiness. again, the website open forum.c forum.com/yourbusiness. >>> angela and barry had helpful advice about how to improve your business. now let's get great ideas from small business owners like you. >> i think the biggest thing i have learned over the last year is you cannot do it alone and your staff is incredibly important as well as the people you align yourself with. you can become bigger but along the way help other people in using their services. >> you need to implement a good social media strategy, whether it's a small one or 15-minute a day one, or you consider this a job function. you need to use social media or you will be left behind. >> you will get inundated with a lot of different things to do as you grow your business. it's important to identify what not to do. a lot of times i list things not to do and so we can triage that and focus on the important things, because you can be spread all over the place. >>> do you want to take your online marketing messages to the next level? check out our website of the week. aweber.com is a marketing tool that can turn it into automatic e-mail to subscribers. it costs about $19 a month. to learn more about today's show, just click on our website, it's openforum.com/your business. you will find all of today's segments with web exclusive information to help your business grow. we love getting your feedback on facebook and twitter. next week, landing a deal with a major retailer isn't easy. it's a process that takes plenty of time and money. >> a lot of people believe you get into 8,000 stores and you get mully million orders, and you are made and you are done. unfortunately in those first years you are putting that money all back in. >> find out how a business got its products off the shelves. until then, i am j.j. ram burg, and remember, we make your business our business. sam: i'm sam chernin. owner of sammy's fish box. i opened the first sammy's back in 1966. my employees are like family. and, i want people that work for me to feel that they're sharing in my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families.
MSNBC
Nov 27, 2011 4:30am PST
so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> earlier we introduced you to evelyn anderson and jerry hyatt, the owners of a custom playground company who needed our help. when we visited their show room and workshop we saw firsthand some easy fixes to spruce up their business. in mart two of our small business makeover, you'll see the outpouring of support from the entrepreneurial community to give this business a boost. >> so yesterday was sorting out what's going on here. there's a lot going on. but today, where the rubber hits the road, we're going to do heavy lifting and get things cleaned up. >> first up, checking to see if jerry and evelyn did their homework. >> good to see you. what about the top ten clients. we figure them out? >> oh, yeah, we got a list of 15,
MSNBC
Nov 8, 2011 6:00am PST
much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families. when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. free gold ! we call that hertz gold plus rewards. you earn free days, free weeks and more fast. that's a plus. upgrade your ride. that's a plus. rewards with no blackout dates so you can redeem anytime. and it's easy to redeem your points online. already a gold member ? just select gold plus rewards in your profile and start rewarding yourself now. just go to hertzgoldplusrewards.com to join. hertz gold plus rewards. journey on. ♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ] ♪ [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. o0 c1 you've sd her cr easu melo a nc r t me o 8 tupt
MSNBC
Nov 3, 2011 10:00am PDT
, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >> right now on "news nation" -- >> we are not the sherlock holmes of the presidential primary. >> the mystery of who leaked the herman cain scandal keeps growing and is creating a battle within the party. from accusations to
MSNBC
Nov 9, 2011 8:00am PST
use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> welcome back, everybody. we turn now to the sexual harassment scandal threatening to derail herman cain's run for the white house. the latest accuser to go public karen kraussar apparent lip wants to conduct a joint news conference with three other women. speaking to the media yesterday, cain emphatically denied any wrong doing and called the claims baseless. he also refused to exit the race. take a listen. >> with respect to the most recent accusation, i have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period. >> karen kraussar, a spokeswoman spoke to the "washington post," she wants all of these allegations reviewed by a collective body of evidence. ladies, it's good to have you here. sharon, i want to start with you. because i want to get
MSNBC
Nov 7, 2011 10:00am PST
connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. [ female announcer ] we never forget the nearly 12 million cancer survivors in america today... and the countless lives lost. we owe it to them to protect funding for cancer research, prevention and access to care. congress, make cancer a priority and give millions of americans what they need most. >>. >> breaking news on "news nation." is it more trouble for herman cain the attorney to be sexually harassed to file a lawsuit? gloria allred are front and center right now. new developments in the scandal rocking penn state. two high-ranking officials the be arraigned in court and accused of lying to a grand jury and investigating coordinator jerry sandusky for molesting young boys. >>> breaking news. a
MSNBC
Nov 30, 2011 7:00am PST
. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. [ male announcer ] indulge all you want. now there's no need to hold back. ♪ new revolutionary scope with dualblast technology obliterates strong food odors and kills bad breath germs leaving your breath minty fresh. hey. sorry i'm late, baby. i bet you're starving. [ male announcer ] so there's no trace of evidence... hey, i thought i did the dishes. [ male announcer ] blast away strong food odors and bad breath germs with new scope dualblast. also, try crest complete extra white with scope dualblast. fantastic! [ man ] pro-gresso they fit! okay-y... okay??? i've been eating progresso and now my favorite old jeans...fit. okay is there a woman i can talk to? [ male announcer ] progresso.
MSNBC
Nov 28, 2011 4:00pm EST
american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ deep breath] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is. that's the cold truth! of course, neither do i. solution? td ameritrade mobile trader. i can enter trades on the run. even futures and 4x. complex options, done. the market shifts, i get an alert. [ cellphone rings ] thank you. live streaming audio. advanced charts. look at that. all right here. wherever "here" happens to be. mobile trading from td ameritrade. number one in online equity trades. [ male announcer ] trade commission-free for 60 days. plus get up to $600 when you open an account. >>> well
MSNBC
Nov 29, 2011 4:00pm EST
success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families. when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. >>> time now for david goodfriend's daily rant. david, take t away. >> thanks, dylan. it didn't surprise me last week when the congressional super committee failed to come up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, deadlocked, and end in failure. after all, republicans have no interest in improving the economy before the election and only seem to start worrying about deficits once they lost the white house. they were never really going to agree to a deal. but as a result of the super failure, we now are on track for some major budget cuts. half of the cuts, $600 billion over ten years, are slated to come out of the defense department's hide. that is significant. our base line defense budget is now roughly two tim
MSNBC
Nov 4, 2011 4:00pm EDT
my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families. when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. is teaching my patients how to start taking insulin. and i've learned a lot from patients who use levemir flexpen. flexpen comes pre-filled with my long-acting insulin, and i dial the exact dose of insulin i need. my flexpen is discreet and doesn't need to be refrigerated. and flexpen goes wherever i go. levemir is a long-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes. do not take if your blood sugar is too low. tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take and all of your medical conditions, including if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. the most common side effect is low blood sugar. other possible side effects include reactions at the injec
MSNBC
Nov 2, 2011 3:00pm EDT
feel that they're sharing in my success. we purchase as much as we can on the american express open gold card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families. when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy. >>> senator harry reid accused republicans of putting their bridge to grover norquist above their duty to the country. >> they're in submission to a man whose singular focus is keeping taxes low for the very, very, very wealthy no matter w
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